Bring out your inner explorer and take the trip of a lifetime with a visit to the historically fascinating Egypt. With its vast sandy landscapes, iconic towering pyramids and stunning temples, there is so much to see in this beautiful ancient land. If you’re planning a vacation here in the near future, take note of these must see sights which are some of the most spectacular in Egypt.
Pyramids of Giza
When you think of Egypt, the first iconic image which probably springs to mind is the stunning Pyramids of Giza. No matter how many photographs you may have seen of this marvelous work of architecture, nothing can prepare you for the magnificently mind blowing experience of seeing them in real life. Get a glimpse of history, as you marvel at the sheer size of the last ancient wonder of the world, and ponder how this creation was built without modern tools. If you ever find yourself in Egypt, you can’t leave without visiting these awe-inspiring structures. Even if you have witnessed them before, they never cease to amaze - no matter if it’s your second, third, or tenth time seeing them.
Obviously you’re going to incorporate the Pyramids of Giza in your travel itinerary, but what about the other pyramids? Scattered across the vast sandy desert are over 100 other ancient pyramids, including the astonishing Step Pyramid of Zoser at Saqqara. Regarded as the oldest pyramid in the world, stare in fascination at the original step architecture before the design evolved into the smoother shape you see elsewhere. Continue your tour of the pyramids with a trip to Dashur, and gaze upon the rusty red hue of the aptly named Red Pyramid. Believed to be the first smooth sided pyramid, surprisingly it was originally cased with white Tura limestone. It was only when the white casing was removed that the red limestone was revealed underneath.
With so many temples to visit in Egypt you can easily feel overwhelmed trying to fit them all into your vacation. Instead of rushing to the popular sites so you can tick them off your traveler's bucket list, take some time to visit the quieter but equally awe-inspiring temples. Despite being of significant importance, Ramesseum, the mortuary temple of Ramses II, is surprisingly crowd free! As you step inside this glorious temple you’ll find yourself surrounded by stunning statues, intricate hieroglyphics, and a wall full of detailed pictures and interesting inscriptions. Unlike the wildly popular Valley of Kings and Karnak Temple, thankfully in Ramesseum you won’t experience such a dense crowd of tourists.
The Great Sphinx of Giza
Although not as monstrously massive as the pyramids nearby, it still manages to be equally magnificent. With its lion body and the head of a king or god, this striking monument continues to baffle everyone with its presence. Join the rallies of scientists, poets and travelers as you stare in amazement at this mysterious marvel and question - who built it and why? Try to visit here early in the morning, as unsurprisingly the surrounding area can get crowded pretty quickly.
Take a break from the hustle and bustle of snap-happy tourists (it’s ok if you’re one of them), and retreat to one of the many beautiful mosques in Cairo. Take off your shoes and visit the utterly stunning Al-Azhar Mosque. From the moment your barefoot first steps on the tile flooring you’ll feel like you've been instantly transported back in time. As one of the earliest surviving ancient mosques, it is steeped in history, and features art and architecture influenced by many of Egypt’s rulers.
You can’t leave this historic country without picking up a souvenir, but don’t settle for a tacky plastic pyramid. Get lost among the labyrinth of alleys in Khan el-Khalili bazaar, and bring home a traditional piece of Egypt. With its assortment of cluttered workshops, eager shop owners, and the strong aroma of spices, you can easily spend hours here. Put your haggling skills to the test in this huge bazaar where you can buy anything from a stunning metal lampshade to belly dancing costumes! Once you’ve finished shopping, soak up the ambiance in the authentically decorated Fishawi’s cafe and try a traditional tea or coffee.
No matter how impressed you are by Egypt’s attractions above the water, it’s what lies beneath which is the real treasure trove. Leave the shore behind and dive into the cool azure waters of the Red Sea. Among the colorful coral gardens, sheltered reefs, and the rainbow of fish are some of the most breathtaking wrecks. Descend 30m and take a step into the past by visiting the astonishing Thistlegorm wreck. Here you’ll find a giant underwater museum of World War II memorabilia including jeeps, motorcycles, tanks and armoury.
Although not a specific piece of architecture, watching the sun set over Aswan is a truly magical sight. Travel like an Egyptian by peacefully cruising along the nile in a felucca - a traditional sailing boat. Lie back and watch Egypt's iconic scenery pass you by, as you anticipate the setting of the sun. When the time is right, gaze ahead to watch the magnificent sunset cast a mesmerizing soft warm glow over the surrounding area.
Temple of Hatshepsut
We hope you’re an early riser, as most of the tombs on Luxor’s West Bank come to life at 6am! While many tourists will sleep in until just before breakfast stops being served - this is not how you should start your day. Be the early bird that catches the worm and avoid the heavy crowds - and also the heat. Lay your eyes on the beautiful Temple of Hatshepsut situated beneath towering rugged limestone cliffs. In the same vein as Disney’s Mulan, Queen Hatshepsut dressed like a man including a fake goatee, to prove that a woman could rule Egypt. She became one of Egypt’s most successful Pharaohs and her temple is the only one dedicated to a female Pharaoh - girl power!
Take a tour of some of the most spectacular Coptic sights along the nile which are still being used as churches and monasteries. Probably the most iconic is the seventh-century Hanging Church. Despite it’s name, this church isn’t dangling from strings, but rather suspended over a passage. Climb the steep 29 steps and be rewarded with the unforgettable, majestic sights of the church’s interior. Soak up its rich history as you explore its wonderful art and architecture, including 13 fascinating pillars which represent Christ and his 12 apostles.